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Target Sponsors Beauty Think Tank's Annual Predictions

Each year, the graduating class of the Master of Professional Studies (MPS) degree program in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management at the FIT researches and forecasts trends or growth concepts within a specific area of the beauty industry, which they then present to an audience of industry executives. Now in its eleventh year, the program has amassed an impressive track record of predictions that have become reality.

Please join us on Thursday, May 19 at 5:30 p.m. for this year’s presentation – Beauty For All: Innovations in Mass Retail – in the Morris W. and Fannie B. Haft Auditorium at FIT, Seventh Avenue at 27th Street. There will be a reception directly following the event at 8:00 p.m.  

Beauty For All: Innovations in Mass Retail is sponsored by Target. Throughout the semester, executives from Target challenged the FIT graduate students to research trends, technologies, and customer needs currently being used and addressed in a variety of industries, and demonstrate how these can be applied to three mass beauty growth areas: Prestige, Naturals and Cosmeceuticals, and Bridging Beauty and Fashion. If previous presentations are any indication, this year’s topic will provide a preview of the direction the industry will soon be taking.  

FIT’s master’s program in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management – the only one of its kind in the country – is an industry sector-focused graduate business degree program for midlevel working professionals. The program also serves as a think tank for the cosmetics and fragrance industries.

In the three presentations in Beauty For All: Innovations in Mass Retail:

  • Prestige will examine all areas and aspects of the luxury market, presenting concepts, including those borrowed or modified from other areas of high-end products, such as apparel, that will appeal to the current consumer – who is discriminating, value-driven, and seeking a cross-shopping experience.
  • Naturals and Cosmeceuticals will explore the tremendous growth potential in the beauty sector for this area of the beauty market. Among the topics to be discussed are how the burgeoning health and wellness culture can cross over to the mass consumer, and how brands can impact the education of the mass-market consumer about naturals and cosmeceuticals, including possible adjacency to an in-store pharmacy.
  • Bridging Beauty and Fashion will look at the inextricable link between fashion and beauty, focusing on how fashion, which so often is sold under the same roof as beauty, can be leveraged in new and interesting ways to entice and drive the consumer to beauty purchases.
Historically, the FIT students not only express big thinking and creativity in their capstone presentations, but their annual predictions and recommendations are future indicators of consumer and industry change. Examples of previous years’ presentations that became realities in the marketplace include:
  • FIT Prediction:  Students in the Class of 2007 developed a revolutionary concept for Estée Lauder to build their consumers into lifelong customers. They recommended a digital service called “Blue Pulse” that gave the customer access to product orders, Estée Lauder services, virtual makeovers, video content, and product information via an iPod.
Marketplace Execution:  Since that time, many beauty brands have joined the digital movement using podcasts (L’Oréal Paris and Maybelline iTunes podcasts), makeover tools (Estée Lauder makeup virtual tool), and tutorials (Lancôme’s Michelle Phan YouTube.com).
  • FIT Prediction:  Students in the Class of 2010 developed a vision for the future of leadership in the year 2020 called inc.@“the beauty company of 2020.” This concept promoted a sense of community, agility, and sustainability in the workplace centered on a people-centric culture.
Marketplace Implementation:  Inspired by this concept, Repêchage built an entirely new office environment. Within four months of the students’ presentation, walls came down and a new open, fluid space was created with shared/flexible/mobile workspaces. Executives were centrally located around the activities of each department. Repêchage experienced a nearly 110% increase in their sales turnover compared to the prior year, and they attribute much of this success to the new office concept and tribal culture.
  • FIT Prediction: The Class of 2009’s capstone, The New Face of Aging, recommended the rebranding and repositioning of AARP. They proposed the launch of “Vitality,” an all-encompassing information hub to enhance all aspects of each individual’s life, including Vitality.org. They also suggested reaching out to the 50 and under population about future financial planning and well-being.
Marketplace Execution:  Just months after this presentation, AARP launched “Lifetuner.org” – an AARP online community offering planning and advice targeted towards younger adults. In addition, AARP revamped its positioning, including the look and feel of its magazine and resources.
  • FIT Prediction:  Capstone 2005 recommended that beauty companies gain a greater understanding of local markets around the world and advocated for more locally influenced projects and input. Capstone 2007 expanded on this concept and invented Studio LV, recommending the construction of a space for Louis Vuitton that included a local museum, to be developed in conjunction with Chinese artists and architects, and using indigenous products by local designers.
Marketplace Execution:  In September 2010, Hermès launched Shang Xia in Shanghai, a high-end luxury brand developed specifically for the Chinese market, with products designed by Chinese talent. Shang Xia is located in a museum-like store space.

Students are handpicked by their employers for the Master of Professional Studies (MPS) program in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management at FIT. They are high-potential professionals at  firms that range from luxury companies, such as LVMH and Chanel, to consumer packaged goods giants, such as L’Oréal, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and Unilever, to fragrance suppliers such as Firmenich, Givaudan, and IFF. The program is structured as a two-year evening program to accommodate the schedules of working professionals.

Through courses taught by faculty who are highly experienced and educated beauty industry professionals, plus partnerships with retailers, industry leaders, and experts, and creative firms such as IDEO, students re-examine business models and solve complex issues in the beauty sector while continuing to work full-time. This combination of high-achieving, young professionals engaged in a graduate business curriculum focused on their industry sector and world-class partners creates the perfect “petri dish” for innovative thinking and idea generation.

For an industry as highly creative as cosmetics and fragrance, the FIT Master's Program in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing and Management is a bold experiment in training future leaders across competitive lines, while also sponsoring a beauty think tank supported by the industry itself.  

About Target:
Minneapolis-based Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) serves guests at 1,755 stores in 49 states nationwide and at Target.com. In addition, the company operates a credit card segment that offers branded proprietary credit card products. Since 1946, Target has given 5 percent of its income through community grants and programs; today, that giving equals more than $3 million a week. For more information about Target’s commitment to corporate responsibility, visit target.com/hereforgood.
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